I stumbled upon Brad Jersak's A More Christlike God through an interview he did with Peter Enns about the book.
I grew up in a Christian home. My parents used to be on staff with para-church ministry to youth, and my dad is now leading the men's ministry at a church in Baltimore.
This past year has brought an immense amount of suffering to our family (my husband and I have 4 boys) and shattered everything I have ever known or thought about God. I have listened to several of Brad's podcasts and have read A More Christlike God. I have to say it couldn't have come at a better time.
My dad went through a similar journey several years ago and almost lost a previous job because he said, "I will never again tell a kid God was mad at them and that Jesus had to 'save' them from Gods wrath."
All that to say, I am so grateful for this book and the journey that brought it about. It has brought refreshment to my soul and in Brad's words, "I don't hate God anymore."
Brad, thank you for sharing your journey and what you have learned. I have passed several of your podcast interviews along to my dad and he is so thrilled that others are preaching this! I look forward to studying more of your stuff!
Over the past 3 years my body has basically fallen apart. I have had 3 surgeries, one being a disk replacement in my neck. I have developed chronic migraines and a year ago this September I looked at my husband and said "I don't believe in God anymore. I don't know how I can. He has abandoned me in my darkest hours. I cannot believe a loving God would 'cause this for His glory' bc if he did then he has a self esteem problem and I don't want to be apart of it."
This was the message I had inherited growing up. That God caused suffering so we could show others how steadfast in our faith we were and then people would be all "Wow! That's amazing! God is so good!"
WHAT?! I abandoned my post as a Christian and it was a devastating break-up but I didn't know how to stay in that place of belief anymore.
Over the coming months as I continued to deal with daily debilitating migraines I couldn't shake the reality that there was a God. And it dawned on me one day that if I didn't believe in God, that didn't change my circumstances. It just left me with no hope. So I began a very slow journey back to God knowing that I couldn't go back to my evangelical faith as I had known it before.
I began to listen to the Liturgist podcast and through them heard about Brad Jersak's book "A More Christlike God." It has been, hands down, the most influential book in my life, ever.
His overarching theme is that Jesus is everything God wanted to say to us and Jesus was, hands down, the most loving, inclusive, radical person who ever lived. Brad talked about how God doesn't cause our suffering but rather, the evil that has a place in this world does.
And Jesus suffers right alongside of us. In my darkest moments he had not abandoned me. He wept with me in the dark, in the hospital, when I couldn't pick up my baby because my arms were weak from the pain. He was weeping with me.
And then-the most beautiful part was that he began to transform my heart by His Love. Not in a cliche way but in a real and tangible way. My view and understanding of the mystery of the Divine that we call God exploded. He is so much bigger than we have ever imagined. He loves much more than we can believe and I believe that there is a place at the table for all of us -- no matter what.
I still deal with the migraines on a daily basis. They aren't as debilitating as they once were and I have amazing doctors. God didn't heal me from this illness. He changed me and opened my eyes to a much bigger understanding of Him -- one with adequate space for my pain and suffering. One with more than enough space for us all to come and be loved and accepted no matter what.